Guest Commentary

Steve Kozachik and Ethan Orr — victims of the D-Ray?

I'm beginning to think that Democrats have a sort of D-Ray that can be fired at politicians to bring them around to a far left way of thinking. In fact, I have detected a pattern that supports the claim.

Take the interesting case of Steve Kozachik. He was part of a two-pronged stab at the Democrat controlled Tucson City Council by Republicans back in 2009. Steve ran against Nina Trasoff in Ward VI. At the same time, Ben Buehler-Garcia ran against Karin Uhlich in Ward III. Ben Buehler-Garcia lost by a few hundred votes to Karin Uhlich, while Steve was victorious over Nina Trasoff.

The Republicans were all giddy because they now had a beachhead established on the Tucson City Council. It was so wonderful for them to see someone like Steve, who ran a major operation at the University of Arizona, had some sort of innate sense of fiscal responsibility, and generally seemed like a standup guy, sitting on the council. He always seemed like the adult in the room.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Though Steve gave some stellar performances early on, like questioning specific items in the city budget and coming up with smart ideas to bring it into balance, something in him changed. Like many newly elected politicians who travel to Washington, Steve went native. I knew the Republicans were in trouble when Steve started to say stuff like, "I'm not going to be pressured by Democrats or Republicans, I'm going to study the issue and do what's best for the people," blah blah blah. That, by the way, is politician speak for, "I abandoned my party." Steve didn't just abandoned the Republicans, he joined the Democrats!

I thought of all the Republicans that spent time on his campaign, gave money to his campaign, and provided him with a major party label without which he could not have beaten Trasoff. Some have speculated that he planned this course of action from the beginning, others disagree and suggest that he just got caught up in all the bright lights. Since no one can look into Steve's heart, that can never be known. Regardless of his motivations, the one undeniable fact is that he did to the Republicans what Kanye's been doing to Kim.

You may have heard of Ethan Orr. He is a freshman representative in the state house of representatives. He's the new Republican Golden Boy, a warm and friendly young man who seems like a standup guy. In fact, the Republicans put all their eggs in Ethan's basket for his district — each district sends two representatives to the legislature, but all the Republican resources appeared to go to Orr.

A while ago, I heard him on Wake Up Tucson, the local morning drive time radio show in KVOI. He was actually arguing in favor of adopting the proposed Medicaid expansion that would help prop up the Patient Affordable Care Act, and inextricably link Arizona to it! My jaw dropped! I picked up the phone to call the radio show and give him a couple of verbal slaps to snap him out of it when I heard him say something like, "I'm not going to be forced by either side into a bad decision. I'm going to study the issue closely and do what's best for the people." Uh-oh. I put the phone back in the cradle.

Somewhere, perhaps in the Castle of Ultimate Darkness, a dome opened. Up through the opening rose the D-Ray gun, with a high capacity magazine, surrounded by a crew of chortling Democrats who, after entering Ethan Orr's coordinates, zapped him with the first burst — just like Steve Kozachik.

It's a new election cycle now. Ben Buehler Garcia has announced that he's going to take another run at Karin Uhlich. The Republicans now have another opportunity to establish a beachhead on the Tucson City Council. They will probably spend lots of time and money on his campaign. Ben's a good grassroots campaigner. I think he stands a good chance against the incumbent. He will probably canvass lots of neighborhoods personally, and with volunteers. I would consider helping him, but he would have to commit to not using a cell phone, and wearing tinfoil on his head at all times if he got elected. Seriously!

About The Author

Jonathan Hoffman

Jonathan Hoffman moved to Tucson from Connecticut in 1977 and never looked back. He attended the UA, ran for City Council Ward III in 2001, and made regular contributions to the Guest Commentary section of the Tucson Weekly for over five years. He helped launch the Southern Arizona News Examiner. He is a former...
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